Common Columbine - Aquilegia vulgaris

Scientific Name: Aquilegia vulgaris. 'Aquilegia' refers to the flowers' resemblance to an eagle (presumably upsidedown with talons outstretched to take some prey). 'Vulgaris' means common.

English Name: Common Columbine (referencing a completely different bird to the scientific name, the dove). Often called Grannys Bonnet, also a clear allusion to the shape of the flower.

French Name: L'Ancolie commune.

5 Key Characters:
  • large flowers with 5 spurs.
  • flowers all blue or violet-blue, occasionally pink or white.
  • found in calcareous woods and fens.
  • rounded lobed leaves.
  • tall and spindly stems.
Lookalikes: Larkspur Consolida ajacis, which has finely divided leaves and a single long spur on the flower.

Habitat: Scrub, woods, fens. Calcareous, neutral or acidic soils.

Flowering Period: April-May-June.

Status: Locally quite common and conspicuous.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

Photographs numbered from left to right and top to bottom. 1 In a woodland clearing on a limestone spur near Preuilly-sur-Claise, April. 2-3 Near Chaumussay on the edge of a wooded limestone spur, with a resting Dark-edged Beefly Bombylius major, April.

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